The Old Attorney

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I do know what I am talking about.  I Graduated fromthe #1school of business in the U.S., I have a fine art degree, BUT MOST OF ALL I HAVE 10,000 JOBS and a whole life time of hard
work and Integrity. 
 
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 I have stucco jobs 30 plus years old all over, I have literally worn out hundreds of pairs of boots, hundreds of wheel barrows, hundreds of Hawks and Trowels, and thousands of floats many thousands.

 

  I have broken pretty well every bone in my body plastering, I have scars all over my body from sharp sand and lime burns. 
 
 Plastering is a very passionate subject, I could have entered any field I wanted, I had the family, the strength the intelligence, and the passion.
 
 I come from a large family of BRAIN SURGEONS NEURO SURGEONS, HISTORIANS, PROFESSORS, all very dynamic people.

 

  I could have gone down any of those paths, I took on PLASTERING FOR ONE REASON, ART--- I love the sun, I love working in the sun, I love great art, and as a boy, I loved to read about art history Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni;  (read what he said about plasterers, he said they were the most refined skilled artist on earth).
 
 Diego Rivera, Leonardo, Macintosh, Millet, I loved them all, and they loved plasterers, they where plasterers.

 

  Diego Rivera and Michelangelo would both rollover if they could see what people call frescos, or Venetian Plaster, Macintosh would freak out if could see them calling paint over foam ( e.i.f.s.) stucco, Millet and all the great masters would CRY, If they could see what this country has done to skilled craftsman and their family's. (they have been destroyed, from top to bottom foam a too z. every aspect of their life's crushed).  
 
 It is a pathetic commentary on us as a people. 

 

 

    I recently restored the 1905 Masonic temple in our town, Hogdson was the architect (one of Americas greatest art deco architects) it was his first major project.  It had arched REAL FRESCO'S IN THE CEILINGS, HUGE SPANS; 40- by 40- two of them, Mariner Eccles office was in this building. 

 

 In one of the most historical places in the history of this country; 25 streets U.S.A.   Some loser contractors tore the frescos out, I have done some research and believe the artist was one of the greats of the era from Europe, I estimate the fresco's values at $ 500,000 each. 

 

 I begged the city and the owners for decades to restore it.  They condemned it.  Thank god two men with soles stepped in and bought it, Randy Richards, and Bernie Allen, after listening to me ranting for years, they let me restore it. 

 

  No one thought I could put it back to its original status.  I am getting older, and I had recovered from a critical fall broken back critical conditon, I would not be able to just supervise; I knew I had to do every square inch myself,  And it would take all of my skill and knowledge.
 
 I replied 60 ft. with a climbing rope and rig. I hand chiseled every square inch, while getting dumped on by hundreds of pigeons. 

 

I had trouble sleeping at night, because of my arms aching from the chisel, 4 layers of bad plastering over 104 years, the building is next to the public defender’s office.  So every know- it- all; never worked a day in their life attorney, would tell me, you are wasting your time,  (I think Bernie and Randy where half way in that camp), After months of chiseling it was naked.  

 

      A very old attorney, 80 years old, who I have known for years;  came by one day and said " Kevin you know that's why they plastered over it the first time, the sandstone was spa-ling and crumbling, I have been watching with great interest the whole time, now we will see if you are the artist you say you are, you showed you still know how to work, now let’s see the craft."  He was right;  
 
 I had I sign that I made, that said "I am doing the work Americans do not want to do, from the ground up, not because it is easy but because it is hard."  I knew I would get a lot of negative feedback that is what I was asking for. 

 

    Jerry my Giacomo ( 20 plus year hod tender) said " Kevin if you don't pull this one off, after all the ranting and raving you have done, you better pack up and leave town, everyone is looking for you to fail, except the old attorney, and the owners."  Boy was he right:  this job was more about VINDICATION of me as my choice to stand alone, as a metaphorical plastering matter, I had lost everything standing on my principals; my money was gone, my wife was gone, my health was almost gone.

 

  But I still had Integrity and strength, I would tell everyone, all your money can not buy what I have, Integrity and strength, SEMPER FI.

 

 

    I played with my plaster mix, I keep remembering what my old mentor, would say, "Everyday for 30 years you might be getting close ,until you have your own recipes you will never be a great plaster."   Jerry said one day;  “I know you have been using your own recipes for years, and even I do not know all your tricks, but you will have to come up with one great recipe on this one."  Jerry knows, sometimes it takes me dozens of mixes to get where I need to go, when it comes to restoration projects.  

 

   THE FIRST MIX;    THAT WAS IT,    I had thought about this job for decades,  I had watched it being covered over, two of the 4 times, I remembered it form the 60s, Next door to grand Orpheum  theater ( torn down by losers). 

 

    I had driven by it every day for 35 years on my way to Morris Hansen's supply yard, (When I started going there, they still sold animal blood for glue and horse bags of horse hair for fiber, not to mention wire lath hangers, I still have some and do know how to use them. 
 
 I would make my mix at home; I would be questioned every day by dozens wanting to know what it was made with?

 

    I would say you; don’t know do you, and no one probably will ever know, I sculpted in some cases over a foot deep, all kinds of scroll work with a trowel. 

 

     I had a photograph, Randy at the bakery; inside the building, had found for me to work from.  It was from the UNITED STATES Historical World War One archives.  It had been taken right across the street during the 1917 Parade, I looked at it for about an hour a day, every day for two months, as I sculpted the plaster. 

 

    I was almost done, and the old Attorney came by and said" kev. I need to talk to you." O.K. I said what it is? 
 
  He said “DO NOT EVER LET ANYONE IN THIS TOWN EVER SLANDER YOU AGAIN, YOU ARE THE ARTIST, IT HAD BEEN TRIED 4 TIMES OVER 105 YEARS BY SOME GREAT PLASTERS AND NOT SO GREAT PLASTER,. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE THAT GOT IT RIGHT, and don't you ever forget it."
 
          I had not shed a tear while all the ugly pain was ragging. 

 

     I had been through a lot over the past decade.  The last tear I had cried, was when they zipped up the body bag on my father, SEMPER FI. 
 
  The old attorney gave me a hug; I don't think he was the hugging type.  - Nor am I.         

 

        He was hit by a car and killed two months later, right in front of the old Masonic Temple,  Simper Fi, I will never forget him or, what I always knew;  

 

     ALWAYS; 
 
     THAT PLASTERING WAS THE GREAT METAPHORICL ART REALISUM, AND TO ALL YOU beaten down 50, 60, 70 something, craftsmen,
 

 You have something they do not, and can never BUY, STEAL OR SCAM, 

    A SOLE EMBEDDED WITH INTEGRITY.  THE OLD ATTORNEY SAID SO.

 

kevin d. blanch May 4 2010 

 

blanchblanch2@gmail.com

 

  (I do not want to hear about my poor grammar, or spelling. I am after all an old plasterer, and you know it is a metaphor)

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